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One-third of Printed Boards for U.S. Military Electronics are Made Outside North America

May 12, 2011

A market analysis prepared for the U.S. Air Force by IPC — Association Connecting Electronics Industries® shows an estimated one-third of all printed circuit boards (PCBs) for U.S. defense or military systems are produced outside North America.

Based on data from IPC's market research as well as data from N.T. Information and other electronics industry consultants, IPC’s analysis concluded that the value of the U.S. military market for PCBs is between $1.05 billion and $1.23 billion. Depending on the market size estimate used, between 27 and 39 percent of all PCBs in products sold to the U.S. military are manufactured outside North America.

"North America has a competent, competitive and organized supply base to support current and future Department of Defense (DoD) requirements for PCB technology," says Denny McGuirk, IPC president and CEO. "In IPC's Electronic Interconnect Industry Policy Recommendations to the DoD Printed Circuit Board Executive Agent, the industry recommends that DoD should also source non-critical technology from North American manufacturers to support a robust and technical advanced domestic supply base."

The policy recommendations report also notes that the North American PCB manufacturing base competes for very complex, high-tech DoD products that are characterized by very high material content, very long build cycles and very low yields. Greater prominence in fulfilling the DoD’s lower-technology needs would support a stronger infrastructure for North American manufacturers.

The critical importance of the North American PCB industry to strengthen and protect U.S. national security is one of three issues being addressed by attendees during IPC’s Capitol Hill Day, June 15–16, 2011, in Washington, D.C.

Capitol Hill Day participants will meet with members of Congress to educate them on the complexities of conflict minerals regulations as well as the impact of those regulations on their companies. They will also urge their legislators to address government over-regulation.

Participants will also network with other manufacturers and members of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in shared social events and learn about technologies that represent the best opportunities to ensure a U.S. electronics manufacturer’s success. Attendees will find out how they can use government resources, such as federal procurement technical assistance, trade adjustment assistance grants, small-business innovation research grants and other resources to strengthen their businesses.

For more information or to register for IPC Capitol Hill Day, visit http://www.ipc.org/CHD. Due to scheduling deadlines for special events held in conjunction with NAM, IPC cannot accept registrations after June 9, 2011.


IPC (http://www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,900 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.5 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Garden Grove, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, China.

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